UNC Basketball: Tar Heels outlast Bucknell 93-81

CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 10: (L-R) Cameron Johnson
CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 10: (L-R) Cameron Johnson /

The Tar Heels weathered a nasty comeback by the Bucknell Bison in the second half, and won their second game of the season, 93-81.

It was not pretty, but the North Carolina Tar Heels got the job done.

In the first half, it looked like this would be one of those games where the Heels would run all over their opponent.

But Bucknell stood strong and battled the Heels all the way to the end.

Despite being up only nine points at half, the Heels dominated the game in the first twenty minutes. The Bison just kept pouring in the threes to keep the game close.

Tar Heel fans are no stranger to seeing opposing teams fill it up from deep in the Dean Dome

Bucknell came all the way back in the second half and even threatened to take the lead a couple of times but the Heels always had an answer.

Tonight, it was a combination of Luke Maye, Theo Pinson, and Sterling Manley that did the trick.

The trio combined for a whopping 55 points, and 27 rebounds. Those were the guys that kept the Heels afloat and got the big buckets late in the game.

Pinson, who you could argue had one of his best games as a Tar Heel, also had five points and six assists to go along with a career-high 19 points. He went 9-of-10 from the line.

Luke Maye put up twenty points again, and also snatched nine rebounds. Maye also dished out four assists.

Joel Berry struggled in his first game back. He hit his first three of the game, but after that, the points were hard to come by. He finished with eight points on 1-of-11 shooting.

The Heels also got nice production from Kenny Williams and Garrison Brooks, both of which finished in double figures.

Nana Foulland and Zach Thomas led the Bison on Wednesday. The two guys had 21 points each, and Thomas hit five threes for Bucknell, one of which may or may not have been from another State.

But the player of the game for the Heels came out of nowhere.

Player of the game

Sterling Manley was a man amongst boys tonight for the Tar Heels.

He notched his first career double-double as a Heel, the first of many it seems. Manley had sixteen points and thirteen rebounds in seventeen minutes.

That is the definition of efficiency.

The freshman had a couple of clutch rebounds, he knocked down some big free throws and even had a big and-one when Bucknell was closing in on the Heels.

Manley was 6-of-10 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free throw line. Seven of his thirteen rebounds came on the offensive end, and he even came up with two blocks.

This was the best performance we have seen in the first two games from the three freshman big men for Carolina.

Notable Stat

The notable stat of the game was the Tar Heels 22 assists on 31 made shots. That means 70% of the Tar Heels made baskets came by assist.

Carolina featured great ball movement in the first half. There were a few possessions where they looked like the Golden State Warriors, whipping the ball around the perimeter.

The ball movement became a little scarce in the second half, as the game got tighter. However, the Heels still found a way to get their baskets when they needed them.

This team has a lot of guards with great passing abilities. Let’s hope the Heels can keep this great ball movement up going forward.

What’s next?

The Tar Heels will travel to California, to take on the Stanford Cardinal. The Heels will face the Cardinal on Monday night at 11:30 EST.

This game will be against a familiar face. Roy Williams will be squaring off against his former assistant Jerod Haase.

Haase was on the Tar Heel staff for ten years, as lately as 2012.

The Heels will be without Cameron Johnson for a while but Brandon Robinson will be questionable for the game. He is still dealing with the effects of a sprained shoulder.

Related Story: Roy Williams wins his 400th game as UNC head coach

Check back to Keeping It Heel this weekend for a preview of the game vs Stanford.